iO Mulen is part of a cabal of producers that includes Janaret, Ion Ludwig & Lowris, who straddle the line between the Romanian interpretation of Minimal and Deep House. Bewitching as much as it is functional, the sound is a certified crowd pleaser at its best. iO also part of a faction of DJs like like Tommy Vicari Jnr, East End Dubs and Traumprinz who tend to release purchase-on-sight records coveted by Discogs fiends. Listening to any of these producers’ tracks makes it’s pretty easy to see why. Having previously featured on labels such as Apollonia and Diynamic to name a few, it comes as no surprise that the Ukrainian found his way to One Records. Introduced by the great John Dimas, it surely is a shrewd move by Adam Shelton and Subb-an. ‘Na Latnem’ had already been signed to another label, but it was so good that Shelton begged for it to be released on his own outlet. Coming out in 2015, though it served as a B side you’d be satisfied if it had a full A side to itself.
The track kicks off with energetic drums and hats that resemble a live feel. Bursts of whistled air plumes give it a light tone. However, it’s deceiving in form as what comes next is bone-rattling. Replicating many of his other tracks, the bass is punishing, bulldozing the ears opting to be held rather than staccato’d. It’s the definition of what one may refer to as a ‘dance floor roller’. “I love to work with samples for arrangements by adding Roland Juno-60 synthesizer and Roland TR-909″ the Ukrainian told Magazine Sixty. Utilising horned samples, Mulen then elevates the track with pads drenched in reverb that permeate the Ibizan sun at dusk. Yes it’s a tool, but an epizootic one at that. Continue reading →
Neversea, like Sunwaves is the annual mecca for all Minimal Techno aficionados. Neighbouring the Black Sea, both festivals are in the beating heart of the scene Romania. Mixmag chronicles “the compelling power of Romanian minimal, a lean and intricate style popularised by frequent Ricardo Villalobos-collaborators RPR Soundsystem (Petre Inspirescu, Raresh and Rhadoo)”. It comes as no surprise therefore that the country has become the “staple in the planet’s finest dance parties, placing the nation firmly on the dance music map‘. This Premiesku set, recorded live by the Mixmag team in 2018 is a mirror reflection of such grand depiction. Celebrating the scene, the mix is infectiously groovy.
Livio, Roby & George G comprise Priemesku and bring an avant-garde perspective when it comes to the ‘Live’ performance DJs. Speaking with Electronic Groove they asserted to ‘really believe that a live act should be based on live jamming and using real instruments‘. Well these fellas take it to the supreme by designing three distinctive, custom-made hardware consoles. Each consists of parts from various machines that have been completely rewired, modified and re-patched. The recording first starts out with some intricate filtered synths and a muddied rolling bass. After some Chicago House influenced jams, at 16th minute comes their own release ‘And Other‘. It opens up with fluttering delayed horn stabs with echoed sonar sounds to create an epic soundscape. Continue reading →
Brian Harden’s ‘Where You Are‘ oozes the Jack and pizzaz of your vintage Chicago House cut. ‘Delight Where You Are’ the vocal sample rings with the staple disco sample. At first glance, this style synonymous with Mike Banks, Robert Owens, Roy Davis Jr, Marshall Jefferson can seem a juxtaposition to the Rominimal sound. Listen a bit more thoroughly though and the two styles appear congruent. SIT aka Sideways Invisibility Theory is comprised of one of the most revered in the game, Cristi Cons and Vlad Caia. Appearing on the rerelease, this SIT remix is a one stellar cut. Cristi himself notably made heatwaves after his remix of Azimute’s ‘The Secret‘ released on Cocoon racked up more than 30,000 Youtube views before release. Individually they’ve released records on their own label Amphia, as well as similarly minded labels Meander and Serialism. Their first LP, Sideways was rich in experimentation, described by PlayedBy as ‘a groundbreaking definition of what we call the Romanian sound’. The duo hit a creative high point with their LP Invisibility Chapter on Sushitech. On this album, their Housier interpolations weaved into the nooks and crannies. In this remix, SIT elevate the original showcasing this shade of their production in full flight.
Chicago native Brian Harden’s original was released back in 2001on his The World Peace EP. It came out on Nite Life Collective, an outlet for jazzier cuts coming from the likes of Glenn Underground, Roy Davis Jr & Moon Man. In the same spirit, the release contained some sublime freeform jams. This is not surprising, considering Harden’s bio cites Herbie Hancock’s ‘Rocket’ as well as the music of Axel F, Paul Hardcastle and Miles Davis as inspiration. Listening to his atmospheric Deep House track ‘Chicago to Detroit‘ proves that he is a master of the dusky Detroit synth sound that partners modular keyboard work. With a chunky 808 bass and lush synths, it sounds as timeless now as it did back then. SIT up the ante on the remix making the elevating the staccato elements of the original. The bassline pounds with the rhythm and the force of a pitched down jack hammer. MIDI bleeps ascend with a sound of a Super Mario mushroom pick up. Chimed synths are looped, twinkling effortlessly. In a similar fashion to another track we reviewed by Sublee the synth’s intertwine compressed from the original, echoing out of time at will. The breakdowns nod to Harden’s composition, being interpreted with the same atmospheric descent. Continue reading →
Robert Hood is credited with inventing Minimal Techno, but Ricardo Villalobos surely can be accredited with defining it. Listening to his first ever release, ‘The Contempt‘, you knew you were in for something special. The Chilean’s ‘Alcachofa‘ album has been referred TO as the nirvana of Minimal Techno, the fulcrum pinnacle which all will refer to as the high point of the genre. Ricardo’s legendary status as a proponent of the abstract, sees him only affiliating with a few to keep the creativity flowing. He told Crack Magazine that he only likes to chill with ‘10 to 15 people’ including Raresh, Rhadoo, Zip and Dorian Paic. If you know the Rominimal scene, you know it has followed his lead. It’s an analogue, vinyls only affair, for those who are serious about the genre by paying for it. The warbly bass and extraterrestrial noises you find on your average Trømmel and Meander releases aren’t here though. ‘808 the Bassqueen’ is a love song to the famed Roland machine. Released in ’99 on Playhouse Records, it’s a tough yet elegant track. It’s not a regular showing for Ricard to release something as such, but if he was going to release only one record, this game-changer would be enough.
The TR-808 is famed for its expressions of the bass note. As much as it is loved by Electronic music enthusiasts, Hip-Hop producers have loved it just as much. Kanye West made a whole album from it, ‘808s and Heartbreaks‘. Lil Jon’s Crunk-induced tracks were defined by the booming bass produced using this machine. Such mastery is also found within Villalobos’ track. A rigid, throbbing bass verging on the borderlands of Dub begins the track. It is a strident sound which can also be found in the productions of Subb-an and Tuccilo. Chords with the sheen of Caribbean steel drum are stabbed with precision of a harpist. Warped drones plague like a dark mist over the track. Half way through the track beautiful strings are drawn out to give the track a warmth akin to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake soundtrack. His LP with Max Loderbauer on RE: ECM has shown his dabble in avant-garde classical and this experimentalism, surely inspiring others such as Petre Inspirescu. The warbles, delays and reverbs at different parts add to the fascination. All in all it leaves the listener musing, whilst remaining in the groove. The cut is Ricardo’s exegesis in less is more. Continue reading →